Monday, May. 27, 2024

Trainer Andre Dignelli Recovering From Hip Surgery

Heritage Farm head trainer Andre Dignelli broke his femur while riding at home in Katonah, N.Y., on Oct. 6.

“I was riding and the horse was afraid of oncoming traffic and he spun,” said Dignelli. “It was kind of a freak thing; I got dislodged and landed on my hip and fractured my femur.”

Dignelli broke the femur in three places, and surgeons at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City inserted two rods into his right hip in a procedure on Oct. 7. Dignelli also dislocated his shoulder in the fall.

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Heritage Farm head trainer Andre Dignelli broke his femur while riding at home in Katonah, N.Y., on Oct. 6.

“I was riding and the horse was afraid of oncoming traffic and he spun,” said Dignelli. “It was kind of a freak thing; I got dislodged and landed on my hip and fractured my femur.”

Dignelli broke the femur in three places, and surgeons at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City inserted two rods into his right hip in a procedure on Oct. 7. Dignelli also dislocated his shoulder in the fall.

“I thought I’d be getting surgery and I’d go right down to Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals [(Pa.) taking place Sat. Oct. 11] but that’s not really happening,” said Dignelli, who stood up for the first time today. “I’m hoping I’m hopping around at Washington [International (D.C.)]; we’ll see.”

Dignelli’s injury comes at the start of the fall indoor circuit, a busy season for his stable, which has earned a reputation as an equitation powerhouse. Heritage has 12 students competing at Medal Finals this weekend and others competing in the junior hunter and jumper divisions. Dignelli’s student Tori Colvin just won USEF Talent Search Finals—East (N.J.).

“We have a great staff and they’re totally up to it,” said Dignelli, New York City. “They’re doing well so far without me.

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“I’m hoping that I can sit in the comfort of my bed and watch online,” he continued. “I’m texting them furiously.”

Fellow Heritage trainer Patricia Griffith is one of several people receiving Dignelli’s texts at the Pennsylvania National in Harrisburg, Pa., and she said they have a course of action prepared.

“We’re going to do our best to make him proud. Luckily it’s a one-ring show, and we’re used to many rings, so we’re under control,” she said. “We’ll miss him dearly but we came in with a plan and we’re just going to follow through with it.”

“It’s been more than 20 [years since he’s missed a Medal Final],” she continued. “I’ve been working for him for 18 years and he’s never been in the hospital or broken anything. He’s maybe taken two sick days in all that time. So this is someone who’s been really healthy and not used to being sidelined.” 

Follow the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals along with the Chronicle. We’ll be live blogging ringside at Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg, Pa., so check www.coth.com on Sun. Oct. 11. 

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